More about Pandora’s local sales efforts, this time from Houston.
Media Results LLC principal Kim Hillman dashes off an energetic note to her distribution list, after getting a LinkedIn request from a “disgruntled ex-Clear Channel guy” now with Pandora. His followup said (in Hillman’s words) “they’re launching a huge push in Houston to sell all the local advertisers ads on Pandora,” detailing the various classes of spots – “banner, rollovers, pre-roll, expandable, etc.” He says they’ll be getting rates comparable to broadcast radio and eventually TV. Hillman colorfully says “well, you know us old radio/TV agency people – we didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.” She cautions folks on her list about “the pie” – there will be a Houston office for Pandora and “you’ll be sharing yet another piece of your pie, looks like.” Kim says “I get it, there is a place for it, but not at broadcast rates, and you are not going to convince me that ‘there is not waste on Pandora.’” Her own personal opinion – “the ads on those platforms really annoy me.” She signs off saying “be ready for them...they are coming in strong.”
“MJ vs. Bubba trial slimes everyone who gets near it.”
That’s TampaBay.com media critic Eric Deggans’ headline. He throws in the latest complications of this radio feud – the suspicion that last week’s DUI arrest of Schnitt’s lead attorney might been a setup. Turns out Philip Campbell “had been having drinks with a woman he did not know was a paralegal” at the firm representing Bubba the Love Sponge Clem – the defendant. It gets even stranger. Deggans says that following Campbell’s arrest, “his briefcase containing key documents outlining their strategy remained in the position of the paralegal.” Bubba’s attorneys denied that, vigorously. But the paralegal, on the stand, took the Fifth when an attorney asked for her cell number. To Deggans, shaking his head, “that means if Schnitt’s attorney should happen to lose the trial, the judge can still declare a mistrial” – and there could be whole ’nuther go-round. Then-WFLZ (93.3) morning host Schnitt filed suit in 2008, alleging defamation by his morning show rival Bubba the Love Sponge. Testimony continues this morning, and it’s such a soap opera involving two well-known jocks, that multiple TV stations are airing live coverage.
Nightclub fire, faulty pyrotechnics – ten years after “The Station” tragedy in Providence, it happened in Brazil.
No doubt many folks in Rhode Island and in the rock community had flashbacks to the February 23, 2003 fire during the Great White concert – claiming 100 lives and injuring about 230 more. What happened Saturday night in Sao Paolo, Brazil contained many of the same elements – crowded club, and what USA Today says may have been faulty pyrotechnics on stage during a live performance. One concertgoer says “the band that was onstage began to use flares, and suddenly, they stopped the show and pointed them upward. At that point, the ceiling caught fire.” The details are still being sorted out, as they were at The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island – but that concert presumably led to much more awareness of conditions at clubs. One of the Rhode Island nightclub owners served 27 months in prison, though the fire marshal who didn’t flag the flammable insulation, was “shielded by state law,” says the New York Times. One of the victims that night – WHJY jock Mike Gonsalves, the emcee.
CBS faces a second embarrassment with subsidiary tech-news site CNET.
First came the news that CNET was being blocked from handing an award at the recent CES in Las Vegas to the Dish Network’s “Hopper” product. CBS said that’s because CBS and Dish are in litigation about the controversial gadget. Longtime CNET writer Greg Sandoval resigned, because of his discomfort with the meddling. Now the Poynter Institute says it’s happened again – CNET can’t review the subscriber-based Aereo service, which distributes free over-the-air signals from CBS and others. Three paragraphs into a recent CNET story about Aereo comes this note from writer John Falcone – “Disclosure: CBS, the parent corporation of CBS, is currently in active litigation with Aereo as to the legality of it service. As a result of that conflict of interest, CNET cannot review that service, going forward.” CBS bought CNET Networks in 2008 for what now looks like a huge price - $1.8 billion. That wasn’t one of its best investments. But – changing tacks here – there’s speculation of a new and much bigger deal ahead for CBS. It might buy Sony Pictures. That apparently pushes the stock price up another 21 cents on Friday, to $42.15 (about half a percent gain). CBS is already in the movie business, competing with its sister Viacom. Moonves created it partly as a low-cost content pipeline for its Showtime cable channel. Moonves should be in a jaunty mood, anyhow – he was just selected for the TV Academy Hall of Fame.
“A WBAP listener walked into the hospital and told the doctor that based on what he heard, he might be having a stroke.”
He was, and WBAP, Dallas ops/program manager Tyler Cox says “fast action at the North Hills Hospital saved his life. The Hal & Brian morning show had discussed the warning signs of stroke a few weeks ago, and they stuck with this listener.” Tyler Cox was also a key mover in the Amber Alert program, when it was created (mostly by the radio community) in Dallas in the mid-1990s. He tells this newsletter that “Radio does make a difference.” Check out the audio here – and bone up on your own practical medical information.
“Dish Nation,” starring radio morning shows, to be renewed for Season 2.
This is serious (okay, pretty frivolous) pop culture, with clips from radio morning shows from New York (WPLJ’s Scott & Todd), Detroit (WDVD’s Blaine & Allyson), Atlanta (Rickey Smiley) and Dallas (Kidd Kraddick). Producer/syndicator Twentieth Television does a serious editing job during the daylight hours, cutting back and forth between shows taking up the same topic. “Dish Nation” worked in a Summer test, got commissioned for Season One – and now will do Season Two, says TV Newscheck. The cast is growing, too - Twentieth Television just added Heidi & Frank from L.A.’s KLOS. TV Newscheck says the show “regularly ranks #1 among this season’s new shows in the adults 18-34, men 18-34, men 18-49 and men 25-54 demos.” Is that surprising, that it’s better with men, rank-wise? There’s a ton of competition for female viewers, and Dish Nation seems to pull in hard-to-find males. They’re not only watching, they’re Twittering and Facebooking, too.
SiriusXM starts building a new male-oriented morning show around Peter Dominick.
The current “Great talk radio for guys” Stars Too channel gets a new name (“The Indie Channel”) as well as Dominick, a onetime contributor to its Raw Dog Comedy channel. The New York Times “Stand Up! With Pete Dominick” won’t be “stuck in the paradigm of politics, though he’ll talk about religion, race, energy, veterans’ issues and parenting (he has daughters). But to do the 6-9am morning gig for the Indie Channel, he’ll have to give up something special – doing studio warm-ups for Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report.” If you’re thinking that SiriusXM might be thinking about life after a potential Howard Stern retirement in a couple of years – that’s what they might be thinking, too. Though radio proved it’s impossible to replace Stern with a single personality.
An Arbitron shareholder sues to stop the Nielsen takeover.
Joseph Pace claims that the way the breakup fee is structured in the $1.3 billion takeover and the confidentiality terms “ensure that any legitimate bidder has been effectively shut out of the process.” Bloomberg reports the suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court. Apparently Mr. Pace wasn’t satisfied with Arbitron’s own exhaustive telling of the sale process in last week’s SEC filing, which started with “Financial Party A” and went all the out to “Party P” – plus, of course, Nielsen. Joseph Pace asks the Delaware court to prohibit Nielsen from closing until Arbitron puts in place conditions that “obtain the highest possible price for shareholders.” Nielsen’s winning bid was $48 a share, which Arbitron’s board agreed to after trying to stretch it to $50. Several other parties were in the mid-40s.
One more Arbitron story, from Honolulu.
Arbitron fesses up to a crediting problem in last Fall’s work – “KORL-FM HD2 re-transmits its programming via translator at 101.5.” But that listening was credited to Hochman’s Hot AC KORL (101.1) instead of to the HD-fed translator, playing “Hawaii’s smooth jazz.” The company founded by George Hochman is also an aggressive user of HD Radio when it’s not supplying another channel. KORL’s HD3 signal is “K-Pop” Korean Pop and HD4 is Japanese pop.
Radio One’s recent stock performance removes a threat from NASDAQ.
The January 10 newsletter said the “ROIA” stock “has come tantalizingly close to meeting the $1 minimum bid requirement recent days, and that may be one reason why the exchange grants it another 180 days to comply.” But at that time, NASDAQ did shunt the issue from the Global Market to the Capital Market. Now Radio One says “because the Class D shares closed above the $1 minimum bid price for the ten consecutive trading days ended January 23,” it’s regained compliance and “the matter is now closed.” How did it perform on Friday? Well enough – down 9 cents (about 8%), at $1.11. As one dealmaker observes, “Hey, at one point, Radio One’s market cap was close to $1 billion.” With the $1.11 price on Friday, it’s below $60 million.
Nashville’s “Mix” sets a new national PPM record, with a holly-jolly 17.8 share.
The existing age 6+ AQH share record set by Clear Channel’s AC “K103” KKCW Portland two years ago is eclipsed by South Central’s AC WJXA (92.9) - which set up the huge Arbitron Holiday-book figure with a December-book 14.5. Not only is WJXA’s 17.8 a national record for holiday books, it’s a national record for any station, for any of the 13 Arbitron “months,” going back to 2008. Some other notable all-Christmas numbers in Friday’s Day 4 of PPMs – Entercom’s Austin AC “Magic 95” (5.8-10.1) used Christmas to tie Clear Channel CHR KHFI (10.4-10.1 in the holiday book of 2011 – and it does it again. In Milwaukee - Clear Channel’s oldies WRIT jumps 6.4-9.3-15.3 since the November book, to take an easy victory. In Providence – Cumulus’ “Lite 105” WWLI breaks the market record with an 8.9-10.5-14.9 jump. In Memphis – Entercom’s all-Christmas AC “104.5 The River” WRVR climbs past the urban and country competition, 5.9-8.6-12.3. In Hartford, CBS Radio’s soft AC “Lite 100.5” WRCH surges 10.2-12.6-16.2.
All-Christmas is “still the biggest music event on the radio.”
That’s consultant Dan Vallie, who says “it captures the moment better than anything a station can do.” He tells this Now newsletter that “even for the ‘second’ Christmas station in the market, the numbers are up.” You can see that in places like Seattle and Nashville. In Seattle, Crista's contemporary Christian (5.0-6.3) now ranks #2, and in Nashville, Salem’s contemporary Christian “Fish” WFFH/WFFI grew 2.2-3.5. Vallie says “In the few markets where no one went all Christmas, there was no real difference in the book or the trends for anyone.” So how about December 26? Dan says “for some, it’s back to pre-Christmas numbers” and quickly. While “some hold onto the numbers a little longer, and even in the fourth week of the Holiday book, the numbers are still high.” Vallie’s a firm believer in “promoting during Christmas programming to keep some of these listeners after Christmas.” Consultant Gary Berkowitz, who also advises stations about all-Christmas, says “What’s amazing is to look at the PPM weeklies, and see how every station pretty much goes back to normal on December 26.” Other than that, he sifts through the numbers and concludes that “it looks pretty typical...there are always a few places where the numbers are not what they expected, but the majority who do it get the biggest numbers of the year.”
More streaks extended in smaller Arbitron diary markets –
It’s 44 straight wins – that’s 22 years in this Spring-Fall-measured market – for Townsquare’s “Cat Country” KCTR, in Billings, Montana. Here’s the string, since Spring 2011 – 14.4-11.4-11.0-13.5. In Wheeling, West Virginia, it’s now 37 straight #1 finishes for Clear Channel’s country WOVK, 18.1-15.1. In Abilene, Texas, Townsquare’s country KEAN (11.8-10.4) may be at the dawn of its own streak – it manages back-to-back #1 finishes over Cumulus country KBCY (11.2-8.5).
Google wants to build an “experimental radio network,” and probably directed toward mobile delivery in urban areas.
The spectrum is way up, around 2524 MHz to 2625 MHz, and it would be well-suited for mobile. The FCC is historically very open to granting permission for experimental work, and Google will almost certainly use its permission to build a two-mile network around its campus in Mountain View, California. Digital Trends says “the spectrum being tested is inaccessible by almost all current consumer electronics, including iPhone and Android devices.” But it could be “very effective with high-density locations.” That suggests fast mobile broadcast in cities – and there’s nothing FCC Chairman Genachowski loves more than making broadband available to the masses.
Failure-to-interrupt costs a Puerto Rico station an $8,000 FCC fine.
This violation is unusual – non-commercial “Capital del Jazz” WVID, Anasco (90.3) had a somewhat operational Emergency Alert System. But it wasn’t capable of interrupting programming. A board op would have to manually crank down the programming to zero or mute. The station director at the Centro Colegial Cristiano-owned “VID 90” told the FCC inspector it had been like that since he took over the job in September 2011. The “failure to interrupt” problem was particularly an issue since the station is not manned from 7pm to 6am, and during “lunch and other breaks.” Read the $8,000 Notice of Apparent Liability here.